Assessment of dust drift from pneumatic drills in static tests
Pochi, D.; Fanigliulo, R.; Gallo, P.; Biocca, M.
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The pneumatic precision drills for the sowing of maize (Zea mays L.) dressed seeds contribute to the emission of dust containing active ingredients (a.i.), such as neonicotinoid insecticides. These chemicals are involved in honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) mortality and decline. Some methods have been proposed to reduce the drift of pneumatic drills, including air deflectors, adjustment of sowing parameters, dressing quality enhancement and innovative filtering-recirculating devices. This paper describes a procedure to evaluate the dust drift caused by pneumatic drills, in tests at fixed point. An area of our workshop was arranged to obtain a sort of wind gallery with a 22.5 m long test area.
Through the possibility of controlling wind speed and direction, such a system provides reliable data on the drift behavior, useful in comparative tests among different drills or drillís onfigurations. It is suitable to the observation of both ground residues and air concentrations of a.i. in the test area. The obtained data were compared with a.i. ground depositions observed in real sowing field tests. In conclusion, we propose a method for the estimation of the a.i ground deposition in field from the data observed in tests at fixed point. This method allows to design a standardized test system useful for evaluating the performances of drills and other seeders in terms of dust drift.